Notre Dame picked up commitment #10 on Monday when defensive line prospect Justin Utupo picked Notre Dame over UCLA, Washington, Oregon State, and Nebraska. The news of Utupo’s commitment came as a bit of a surprise since there hadn’t been a whole lot of news on him over the last few weeks and months, but it’s a great pickup for Notre Dame nonetheless.
Utupo told Irish Sports Daily that he’d always dreamed of going to school at Notre Dame.
“When I was younger, I watched that movie Rudy and ever since then, I wanted to go there, even if I couldn’t play football there, I just wanted to go to school there. Now to have this opportunity to go and be a part of the program, I’m just really excited about all this.”
ESPN’s scouting report of Utupo describes a versatile defensive lineman in the Ethan Johnson mold – someone who can play either inside or out depending on the situation.
He displays good speed and short-area change-of direction skills. He will leave his feet at times, but for the most part is a physical wrap-up tackler. As a pass rusher he can create some push and work off the block. Utopo combines some ability with effort and can be productive. Defensive end will likely be his better fit in college, but depending on how he physically develops he could be a swing guy as he shows he can play inside also.
Notre Dame may have gotten a nice find here. Utupo was starting to receive some interest from some big time schools, but accepted his Notre Dame offer after seeing Notre Dame land a couple of defensive linemen already in Chris Martin and Blake Lueders.
Utupo is the second recruit in this class of the Mormon faith joining safety recruit Chris Badger. After not having any on the football team prior to Manti T’eo, the Irish have now added three, including T’eo, since February.